There are certain instances or occurrences that trigger a doctor, nurse or other health care provider to make a report to a Wisconsin department or agency, or directly to law enforcement. It is important for these professionals to know and abide by these reporting duties, or discipline may result, including actions taken against their license, fines, forfeitures, or even jail time.

Other Doctors: all licensed medical doctors and doctors of osteopathy have a legal duty to report the unsafe practice of other physicians to the Medical Examining Board (MED), under 2009 Wisconsin Act 382, the Physician’s Duty to Report Act. The reporting of a fellow doctor may involve deficient medical care, medical error, patterns of unprofessional conduct, acts that create a danger to patients or the public, medical incompetence, and mental or physical inability to safely practice. Failure to report may result in discipline by the MEB.

Themselves: Any health care worker listed in Wis. Stat. § 440.03(13)(b), (including physicians, nurses, podiatrists, physicians’ assistants, chiropractors, dentists, pharmacists, physical therapists, and many more) is required to report to the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) any felony or misdemeanor conviction within 48 hours after the entry of the judgment of conviction. The report must include the date, place and nature of the conviction. This requirement extends to convictions that take place not just in Wisconsin, but in any state. Failure to self-report a conviction may result in disciplinary action against the professional’s license. One may self-report by filling out Form 2704DLSC, which is available on the DSPS website.

Child Abuse: Any health care worker listed in Wis. Stat. § 48.981(2)(a) (including physicians, nurses, chiropractors, dentists, physical therapists, acupuncturists, optometrists and many more) is a mandatory reporter of child abuse. If any of these professionals has reasonable cause to suspect that a child seen by the person in the course of their professional duties has been abused or neglected or threatened with abuse or neglect, the professional must make a report to Wisconsin Child Protective Services (CPS) or law enforcement.

School Violence: Under Wis. Stat. § 175.32, the same group of professionals listed above and in Wis. Stat. § 48.981(2)(a) must report to law enforcement if he or she “believes in good faith, based on a threat made by an individual seen in the course of professional duties regarding violence in or targeted at a school, that there is a serious and imminent threat to the health or safety of a student or school employee or the public”.

Caregiver Misconduct: Under Title 42 of the United States Code of Federal Regulation, as well as Wis. Admin. Code, Chapter DHS 13, if a health care provider observes a resident of a nursing home or other entity regulated by the Division of Quality Assurance (DQA) being subjected to any of the follow, it must be reported: abuse, neglect, exploitation, misappropriation of resident property, or an injury of an unknown source. It must be reported regardless of if the offender is a consultant, facility staff member, caregiver, volunteer, family member, legal guardian, friend or other individual. The report must be submitted to the DQA Office of Caregiver Quality (OCQ). OCQ may then conduct an investigation and if the accused is a credentialed staff member (MD, RN, LPN etc.), the report will also be forwarded to DSPS for further investigation and possible disciplinary action against the person’s license. If the offender is non-credentialed, they may be placed on the Wisconsin Caregiver Misconduct Registry.